Is 'A Band Called Death' the new Searching For Sugar Man?
'A Band Called Death,' the Audience Award Winner at this year's SXSW Festival, is set to hit movie theaters in the U.S. on June 8, 2013. The documentary follows the story of Detroit brothers Bobby and Dannis Hackney and their friend Dobbie Duncan who formed proto-punk band Death, despite Motown and Disco's dominance of the early seventies black music scene.
As you'd expect, nobody was willing to give the boys a chance and a record deal appeared a million miles away. In 1974, the group was approached by Columbia Records mogul Clive Davis, though he requested the band choose a more commercially relatable name - they refused. Death disbanded in 1977, as white punk bands The Ramones and the Sex Pistols began to stamp their authority on the genre. However, nearly 30 years later, Death's demo tape found its way out of hiding and was played to a new generation of fans who appreciated the inspirational sound of the world's first black punk band. Directed by Jeff Howlett and Mark Covino, the movie is already getting comparisons to Oscar winning movie Searching for Sugar Man. Questlove is a fan too, tweeting after a recent screening, "if "Sugarman" doc moved you....this will be your music doc of the year."
Writing in the New York Times in 2009, Mark Rubin said of the band's secret demo tape, "Death's newly unearthed recordings reveal a remarkable missing link between the high-energy hard rock of Detroit bands like the Stooges and MC5 from the late 1960s and early '70s and the high-velocity assault of punk from its breakthrough years."